Happy Holidays to all of our friends, family and followers!
On the 1st day of Cloudiness, GoGrid gave to me,
Cloud infrastructure made easy.
Let me preface this post by saying, I am NOT a Linux guru. In fact, I consider myself to be a newbie when it comes to the intricacies of Linux. I probably know enough to be dangerous, at least dangerous to the server. So, I’m writing this post with the following disclaimer: Don’t ask me for any details on the “why” or how to do what I’m outlining below differently. But since I figured that lots of you are like me, I wanted to share.
Since I’m a Linux newbie, you’ll probably understand why I wanted to write this post though. I’m not a command line junkie—GUIs are much more my thing. But when it comes to running a server that is speedy and high performance with low overhead (e.g., doing away with GUIs), you’re probably looking at various Linux distros. What I wanted to do was set up a basic Linux system running a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack that also had a web-interface and some added security controls.
The great thing about doing this type of experimentation in the cloud is that I can create essentially a Dev & Test environment where I can spin up a server in minutes, install software, configure it, and test everything out. Then if it doesn’t work the way I want it to, I can tear it down and start again from scratch. The cloud lets you do this quickly, easily, and inexpensively.
In this tutorial, you can basically have the entire configuration up and running in the GoGrid cloud in less than an hour and only spend about $0.25 to test this out (assumes a 2 GB server running for 1 hour at $0.12/GB RAM/hr.)
Here’s what we’re using:
At GoGrid, we are often asked to provide solutions for a variety of use cases. More often than not, businesses are not looking for “standard” cloud implementations. And what really is “standard?” When you think about it, every business has unique needs in order to satisfy their cloud challenges. We help companies craft these solutions daily and we call it Creating a Cloud Fingerprint. But, as is the nature of cloud computing, many users desire to figure it out themselves, simply because solutions can be architected fairly easily, and if it isn’t quite right, they can be modified.
In our regular discussions with companies looking for information on how they can benefit from cloud Infrastructure as a Service, we often come across the same set of hurdles, namely:
With these challenges in mind, we have a solution that allows business not only to utilize their existing infrastructure, but also leverage GoGrid’s public cloud to create a Virtual Private Cloud on GoGrid.
But, addressing the points above is critical in the solution. Therefore, we wanted to be sure:
The cloud is great for so many things. You can create a web presence in a matter of hours or completely implement an N-tiered, redundant, elastic, secure globally-available cloud topology. Spinning up infrastructure via a web portal or API in minutes via a few clicks of a mouse is a dramatic transformation from the days of racking and stacking servers, untangling miles of cat5/6 cables, connecting load balancers and firewalls to the mix and hooking up storage devices. And let’s not forget about physical security, power supplies, cooling and network redundancy. The neat thing about the cloud is that all of the stuff has become really easy to do and you can do it very quickly.
GoGrid has a long history of enabling IT infrastructure solutions for companies across the world. We have built out core services and offerings to allow businesses to build want they want quickly, efficiently and with state-of-the-art cloud technology. But just because you have great tools at your disposal doesn’t mean that your cloud environment will magically create itself. And that is something that we realize and understand at GoGrid.
Cloud computing can be almost magical at times, but we need to remember the processes and best practices for security and ensuring redundancy that we are accustomed to using, and adapt and use them within the cloud as well.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post “Things to Think About When Building Secure Infrastructure” where I made a few points about “assumption,” namely, assuming that whatever cloud vendor you choose, they will take care of everything for you. Regardless of the cloud vendor, you need to do your due diligence and update your standard operating procedures to reflect how cloud computing works. It is different than traditional IT in many ways. For example, in the GoGrid cloud, you can create a cloud server, harden it with security software and configurations and then save it as a MyGSI (as “server image”). Then, as you need to scale out your infrastructure, you can do this not only quickly, but securely as well, by deploying clones or instances of that hardened server. With a traditional, physical deployment, it takes much longer and there is no guarantee that you will have each and every security patch in place on every server.